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Back to School at Holy Family Catholic Academy and Early Learning Center

July 31, 2020

By Suzanne Carlos
Development Coordinator, Holy Family Catholic Academy

August 3, 2020 Update: Given the recent surge in COVID cases on Oahu, HFCA Principal Celeste Akiu consulted with HFCA Pastor Father Rheo Ofalsa, Holy Family Early Learning Center Director, Allen Akiona, Jr., and Superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools Dr. Llewellyn Young in making the decision this afternoon to postpone on-campus learning for its K-8th grade students until Monday, 8/17/20. HFCA students in grades K-8 will distance learn the week of 8/10/20, and return to campus on Monday, 8/17/20.

Holy Family Early Learning Center began on-campus, in-person, full-day instruction on Monday, 8/3/20. Their program will not be interrupted or transitioned to distance learning at this time. They are continuing their on-campus instruction as planned.

 

Back to School at Holy Family Catholic Academy and Early Learning Center
Holy Family Catholic Academy (Kindergarten-Grade 8) and Early Learning Center (preschool) is looking forward to welcoming its students back to campus for full-day, face-to-face instruction, starting on August 5th.  This traditional learning model will have all of HFCA's students attending school in person--all day, every day--with enhanced health and safety measures.  HFCA will also be offering Before School Care (from 6:00-7:00am) and After-School Care (until 5:30pm).  HFCA Principal, Ms. Celeste Akiu, has worked with her administration to carefully and thoughtfully prepare their Reopening Plan for this '20-'21 school year.  Principal Akiu shares, "Together as a community, we have all learned to be resilient, patient, and, most importantly, how to pause our busy lives to be with our loved ones and to connect with all the blessings in our lives. Our Holy Family community is committed to doing all we can for the good of the children."  Following are highlights of HFCA's Reopening Plan:

Enhanced Health & Safety Measures
Parents are asked to conduct a daily home health check before heading to school in the morning.  Any child with a fever or symptoms of illness must be kept home.  In addition, daily no-touch temperature checks and visual wellness checks for all students will be conducted upon morning entry to homeroom classrooms.  All faculty and staff will have their temperature taken daily and complete a daily wellness check-in with the school nurse when they first arrive on campus.  Face masks will be required to be worn by all faculty, staff and students while on campus (both indoors and outdoors), unless otherwise instructed by school officials.  Wearing of masks is appropriate only if a child can safely and reliably wear, remove, and handle their mask throughout the school day, following CDC guidelines.  Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer dispensers will be located at each entryway to the school building.  Each classroom and office will have a hand-disinfecting station at the entrance doors.  Students and school staff will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently during the school day.  Common areas and frequently-touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected multiple times during the school day.  Thorough disinfecting and cleaning will occur daily in each classroom and office on campus.  In an effort to maintain a safe and healthy environment, parents and visitors will not be allowed on campus.  Staff members will greet students as they arrive in the morning and walk them to their socially-distanced homeroom lines for morning assembly.  Students will notice lots of new signage on campus, including reminders about safe hygiene practices.  Students will need to bring a labeled water bottle to school daily as only water bottle filling stations (not water fountains) will be available.

Classroom Cohort Design
The number of students per classroom has been reduced to comply with social distancing guidelines, as set forth by the Hawaii Department of Health and the CDC.  Cohorts of classes will be created to minimize the mixing of students and limit cross-contact within the student body.  The elementary school students (grades K-5) will spend most of their day in one classroom, at their desk, with one teacher.  Middle school students (grades 6-8) will spend most of their day in one classroom, at their desk, with their different teachers rotating into their classroom.  Classroom doors will remain open to allow fresh air to circulate in the air-conditioned rooms.  HFCA will continue to offer its 'Specials' classes including Hawaiian Music/Ukulele, Visual Arts and Band.  Recess and lunch times will be staggered to allow ample space for social distancing.  Due to the pandemic, large school events and field trips have been suspended until further notice.

Technology
HFCA has made a huge investment in technology and will be providing 1:1, school-issued iPads for all students in Kindergarten - 8th grade.  All curriculum will be digital and web-based.  This will provide a seamless transition for student learning should there be a need to close the school for an extended period of time.

HFCA's Virtual Learning Option
Supporting our students and families is one of our top priorities.  We recognize that the full-day, in-person, Monday-Friday model may not meet the needs of some of our families.  We are pleased to announce that HFCA will be offering a Virtual Learning Model simultaneously with our full-day, in-person model.  The Virtual Learning Option is available for K - 8th grade students, utilizing the same school year calendar, school-issued iPad and curriculum, with additional learning support from a designated Virtual Learning staff member on campus.  Families that choose this Virtual Learning Option will need to commit to at least one full semester (August 5 - December 18, 2020).

Early Learning Center
HFCA's Early Learning Center (ELC) enrolls students from 2 years and 10 months to four years old.  The ELC's School Day Program runs from 7am-3pm, with their Full Day Program running from 7am-5:30pm.  The ELC program includes a morning and afternoon snack, as well as a hot lunch for all its students.  The number of students per classroom has been reduced to allow for social distancing, and enhanced health and safety measures have been instituted.  Daily no-touch temperature checks and visual wellness checks for all ELC students and staff will be conducted upon entrance to the facility.  Children will wash their hands frequently throughout the day including upon entering the classroom, after using the restroom, before and after snacks and meals, and when transitioning from the outdoors.  High-touch surfaces will be sanitized and disinfected frequently throughout the day.  All classrooms will be thoroughly sanitized with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved resources during the evenings when the ELC is closed.  All three ELC classes will remain separated throughout the school day to reduce the number of children in one area and to reduce the possibility of viral transmission.  All ELC faculty and staff must wear face masks or face shields at all times while on campus, while ELC students will be required to wear a face mask upon entering and exiting the school campus, and will be encouraged to wear their face mask or face shield during the school day.

Admissions
It's not too late to apply for this school year.  Interested parents are encouraged to visit HFCA's website at www.hfcahawaii.org or contact the Director of Admissions, Mrs. Luana DeSoto, at 808-423-9611 ext. 306 or via email at ldesoto@hfcahawaii.org.  Prospective parents with any questions may contact HFCA's K-8 Principal, Ms. Celeste Akiu, at 808-423-9611 ext. 302 or via email at cakiu@hfcahwaii.org.  Parents with preschool questions may contact Holy Family's Early Learning Center Director, Mr. Allen Akiona, Jr., at 808-421-1265 or via email at aakiona@hfcahawaii.org.  HFCA accepts applications and enrolls new students year-round, based on space availability.

Holy Family Catholic Academy and Early Learning Center is a co-ed, parochial, private school for students in preschool through 8th grade.  Holy Family Catholic Academy is located off Nimitz Highway, near the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.